Sunday, March 15, 2009

How Do I Love Thee Guernsey Crest? Let Me Count the Ways...

I love ice cream. Who doesn't? It's sweet, cold, creamy, and oh so satisfying. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't like ice cream. Sure, we may argue over the best flavor. There are those who love the basics - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. Of course, cookies and cream, chocolate chip cookie dough, and, most recently, cake batter, have become big favorites. And then there are the fruit inspired creations: mango, coconut, etc (I'm sure we'll start seeing pomegranate become more mainstream because for whatever reason we need pomegranate in everything these days). For the nostalgic folks out there, you can still find the "grandma flavors" - pistachio, rum raisin, butter pecan.

For me, I don't think there is anything better than chocolate chip mint ice cream. Words cannot describe my love of this flavor and why I think it rules. There are a lot of good chocolate chip mint ice creams out there, but few that are truly great. What makes a great chocolate chip mint ice cream you ask? Here is my list of criteria:

  • Color - should be pale green, not too dark or unnaturally bright
  • Chocolate chips - the flat chips work best, not the mini-morsels and not little flecks of chocolate dispersed all through
  • Flavor - should be a clean minty flavor that is neither distinctly peppermint nor spearmint
  • Sweetness - sufficiently sweet without being overpowering or cloying

Where can one find the perfect chocolate chip mint? Well, as you guessed by my post title, that honor would clearly go to Guernsey Crest Ice Cream in my beloved hometown of Paterson, NJ. Their chocolate chip mint possesses has those 4 qualities listed above in the perfect balance: it is truly wonderful and easily beats other local faves Applegate Farms (Montclair) and Gelotti (Paterson).

In addition to the quality of Guernsey Crest's chocolate chip mint, you truly have to appreciate the whole experience. Guernsey Crest is located on 19th Ave in the heart of Paterson, near Market Street. While the area is not that bad, if you are not used to the area (or are just downright snobby) then it will seem worse than it is. But trust me when I tell you, it is not that bad an area (if it were located on Presidential Blvd or East Main Street, then that would be a different story).

As you pull up, you'll notice it doesn't look like an ice cream store. It doesn't like a store. It looks more like a side entrance to a factory. It's actually in a quasi-industrial area. But the sign says Guernsey Crest Ice Cream, they have flavors listed outside, it must be an ice cream shop. The experience continues as you walk through the door and are greeted by a nearly bare room with a bunch of servers standing behind a plate glass window. Yes, that's right. You get your ice cream through a hole in the glass. Guernsey Crest has all the ambiance of a check cashing store.

Speaking of cash, you'll still have a ton of cash in your pocket because their ice cream is cheap, cheap, cheap. I actually went there today for the first time this season to pick up a half-gallon for a party (ok, I bought one for my freezer too). The price: $8. Yes - $4 per 1/2 gallon. You cannot beat that. Prepackaged ice cream at the grocery store costs more than that. Just want a small - $1.25. You can have 3 ice cream cones for the price of a Starbucks. You can't beat that!

I highly recommend that the first chance you get, you hop in your car, strap on your Kevlar vest (just kidding...I swear!) and head to Guernsey Crest. I can't attest for all their flavors, but the chocolate chip mint is downright brilliant.

Guernsey Crest Ice Cream Company
134 19th Ave
Paterson, NJ 07513
(973) 742-4620

Don't want to take my word for it? Visit Off the Broiler for a second opinion.

Cin cin!

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